Turkish MP Mahinur Özdemir expelled from Belgian party for not calling 1915 Armenian events 'genocide'

EMRE BAŞARAN @ebasaran49
ISTANBUL
Published
emReuters Photo/em
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Democratic Humanist Centre (CDH) Deputy Mahinur Özdemir resisted the pressure from the members of her party and rejected to call 1915 incidents 'genocide'. CDH's "ethical committee" thereupon expelled her on Friday from the party because of her decision.

The process making Özdemir an independent deputy of the Belgian Parliament started upon CDH leader Benoit Lutgen's remarks about the so-called Armenian genocide allegations in which he said, "Should there be any genocide denier in our party, then he or she will be immediately discarded."

After the leader's remarks, Belgian media started a smear campaign against Özdemir because of her decision to boycott a moment of silence in the parliament to mark the so-called genocide.

Özdemir never gave up and never changed her attitude and decision about the 1915 incidents. She evoked that there is no court decision on the Armenian allegations, and further added that Belgian government and the European Union didn't take a step regarding this issue.

Mahinur Özdemir said in an interview that CDH secretary-general Eric Poncin demanded that she sign a document that recognizes the deaths of Armenians in 1915 as 'genocide' and added that the secretary-general also said she would be dismissed from the party otherwise. She further added that she told the secretary-general, "I'm behind my views on this issue. I'm standing strong and I'm never giving up my freedom of speech."

In her statement about the expulsion, Özdemir said "Unfortunately, CDH has made a decision that conflicts humanism and democracy and proved that it does not have freedom of speech as a value. My expulsion has become a black stain in CDH's and Belgian democracy's history. It's clearly evident that the freedom of expression has to be valid for 1915 incidents. It's a shameful decision for those 'defending' the freedom of speech by saying 'Je Suis Charlie'."

Saying that she wishes historians shed light on 100-year-old facts that has been long benighted, and added that she shares the pain of everyone, especially millions of Muslims that have been slaughtered. "I condemn those playing politics with historical facts and peoples' pains. I believe that, having lived together in peace for hundreds of years, Turks and Armenians can go over this pain by facing the truths. In this context, I support the opening of all historical archives and the foundation of a common history commission," the independent deputy added.

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